Baby Steps Outside the Standard Pen

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Project by Nils posted 11-26-2008 09:28 AM 2379 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ever since I started making pens last year I wanted to step outside the bounds of the basic kit-driven pen. Here are some of my first attempts at that. The easiest customization to make with a standard pen kit is to leave off the center band. This allows you to make a Euro shape from a slimline, for example, as shown in the first two pictures.

The first one is a red swirly acrylic, not even sure the name, made from a slimline kit without the center band. The second picture is a pen and pencil set made from some bush I removed from our yard – I have no idea what the main wood wood. The center band in these pens is Kingwood. And the basic kits are slimlines (pen and pencil).

The third pen is the first one I did without a center band. Based on a Euro kit, made of Kingwood, I just decided I didn’t really need a center band, it disrupted the flow of the wood, and it was constraining. I’m sure the result is a bit more fragile, but it was a gift for an adult, so I thought it would be OK.

The wooden pens are sanded to at least 600 grit and finished with BLO and CA glue; the acrylic just with MicroMesh to 12000 grit.

My next customization will be to turn a slimline pen without either the center band or the end cap. This will allow me, for example, to create a Euro-style end on the pen, but in wood rather than metal. I’ve currently got the pieces for that project cut out, and a mandrel on the lathe, so that should be my next project posting in a week or two.

-- Nils Davis, Menlo Park, CA

7 comments so far

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3870 days

#1 posted 11-26-2008 11:47 AM

Good stuff Nils. Very cool that you can make something from your front yard.

View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

953 posts in 3808 days

#2 posted 11-26-2008 01:29 PM

Beautiful pens.

-- Jiri

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4396 days

#3 posted 11-26-2008 03:07 PM

Great Nils. A nice job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Rj's profile


1047 posts in 3627 days

#4 posted 11-26-2008 05:42 PM

Nils Great pens ! I didn’t like the slim profile and have been modifying my slimlines as well . I really like the 3rd pen (Haven’t done one like that yet) !
Job well done

-- Rj's Woodworks,San Jose & Weed Ca,

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 3800 days

#5 posted 11-26-2008 07:51 PM

Nils, these look great. I really like where you are going with the center bands. Next step is to turn the nibs!

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View Nils's profile


141 posts in 3860 days

#6 posted 11-26-2008 08:55 PM

Jeff – there’s an article in the latest Woodturning Design on turning nibs. He recommends against using wood for nibs, as it’s perhaps not strong enough for the forces involved in writing. He suggests Corian or other manmade materials like that. I do want to give it a try.

I forgot to mention last night that a very big inspiration for these pens was several articles by Kurt Herzog and Don Ward linked on this page on the Pen Maker's Guild web site.

-- Nils Davis, Menlo Park, CA

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4322 days

#7 posted 11-27-2008 12:05 AM

nice… I was just reading that article and thinking about all the stuff one could conceivably do with a basic slimline…

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

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